Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September 2020                                            Pp. 127-148
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol11no3.8

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 Returning to Graduation Project: Attitudes and Perceived Challenges of Students and
Staff at a Libyan EFL Department

Reda Elmabruk
 Department of English, Faculty of Education Tripoli
University of Tripoli, Libya

Rasha Bishti
  Department of English, Faculty of Languages
University of Tripoli, Libya

 

Abstract:
In 1997, the Department of English (Faculty of Languages, University of Tripoli) canceled Graduation Project (GP) as a graduation requirement primarily due to growing student plagiarism. Two decades on, the Department decided it is time for Returning to Graduation Project (RGP). In preparation for this, a Research Methods (RM) module was delivered to students, and an intense ‘research design and methodology’ course was taken by the staff. In this exploratory mixed-methods case-study research, the main question focuses on attitudes and perceived challenges facing students and staff concerning RGP. The aim is to tackle negative attitudes and perceived obstacles in anticipation of a successful RGP, which spells out the significance of the research. Data were collected through a questionnaire (n=52) and a focus group discussion with seventh-semester students (10); semi-structured interviews with staff (13). A small majority of students (54%) supported RGP; the remaining 46% raised two kinds of concerns: realistic challenges of lacking resources, inadequate RM skills, and supervisor issues; unrealistic challenges involved time constraints, fear of presenting, and problems of determining research topics. Staff members were receptive to RGP but raised numerous concerns. Whereas experienced members expressed cynicism due to low students competencies and lacking resources, others saw RGP as an opportunity for students to gain practical research experience ahead of postgraduate study. Several challenges were perceived, chief among them are students lack of research skills, inexperienced supervisors, inadequate resources, and an ever-lasting concern with plagiarism. New staff reported the need for tuition in ‘data analysis and interpretation’, and ‘supervision practice’. Peculiarities characteristic of the case milieu emerged.
Keywords: Challenges to research, EFL students and staff at a Libyan department, graduation project, research methods, research supervision

Cite as: Elmabruk, R., & Bishti, R. (2020). Returning to Graduation Project: Attitudes and Perceived Challenges of Students and Staff at a Libyan EFL Department. Arab World English Journal11 (2) 127-148.
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol11no3.8 

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Dr. Reda Elmabruk is an associate professor in Applied Linguistics. He obtained his doctorate
from the University of Nottingham (UK) with an emphasis on EFL teachers professional
development. His Master’s degree was in Linguistics from the University of Westminster (UK).
Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number 3 September 2020
Returning to Graduation Project: Attitudes and Perceived Challenges Elmabruk & Bishti

He is a teacher educator with a keen interest in research methodology, academic writing and
syntax.
Rasha Bishti received her BA in English and Linguistics from the University of York, UK. She
also holds an MA in linguistics from the same university. Rasha teaches phonetics, theoretical
linguistics, creative writing, and grammatical structures. Her research interests include TESOL
issues and Sociolinguistics.